Yes, Michael Aller went to high school and received a diploma in Detroit, where he is originally from. However, he will be receiving an honorary diploma from Miami Beach Senior High as part of the City National Bank Hi-Tides Outstanding Achievement Award being presented at the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce’s 91st Annual Dinner Gala on June 1st, 2013 for his contribution to the school’s Academy of Hospitality and Tourism and the Miami Beach community.
Michael Aller or as most know him, “Mr. Miami Beach,” has devoted the last few decades to promoting tourism in Miami Beach. The love affair with Miami Beach dates to his childhood, when the Detroit native spent six months out of the year in Miami Beach at the Fontainebleau with his snowbird parents. He still remembers his first impression-which never fails to dazzle him even now. “Every time I come over the Julia Tuttle [bridge] and I get to the top of the crest, it is thrilling to see the skyline of Miami Beach, the ocean, the bay, the hotels,” he says.
Aller started his career path in the nursing home industry, establishing his lengthy track record of community service. When he “retired,” he made the permanent move to Florida and proceeded to try on a variety of hats. Longtime residents might remember him running a Polo shop in the Miami Beach Burdines department store or his mid-‘80s stint as the star performer of Michael Aller’s Floating Piano Bar, a 60- foot catamaran based across from the Fontainebleau. But it was his round-theclock dedication to the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce that prompted the city to make its stars-aligning job offer; volunteering as membership director, newsletter founder and editor, Business expo chairman and networking chair. Devoting himself full-time to the city made sense for its No. 1 fan. “It’s not a job,” says Aller. “This is a passion.”
Aller became Tourism Director and Chief of Protocol for the City of Miami Beach in 1991 and has greeted presidents of the United States, more than 40 other heads of state and countless celebrities. He was nicknamed “Mr. Miami Beach” because, as Mayor Matti Herra Bower noted, “If anything is going to happen anywhere in Miami Beach, it is Michael Aller who can make it happen.” His cell phone doubles as the Miami Beach tourism hotline and fields questions from visitors at all hours, 365 days a year. Aller considers it his greatest contribution. “We have a hotline that’s 24 hours, seven days a week, answered by a person, not a machine. I hate when you call, and they say, ‘Now press 1.’ The City of Miami Beach shows that we care for our residents.”
Michael’s dedication and passion for Miami Beach have resulted in numerous accolades, from the South Florida Tourism Professional of the Year in 2005 by the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism to the Twelve Good Men of Miami Award in 2008 by the Ronald McDonald House. The Chamber annually awards a scholarship in his name to an Academy of Hospitality and Tourism student. This year, he will be honored with the City National Bank Hi-Tides Outstanding Achievement Award at the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce’s 91st Annual Dinner Gala.